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Irish Ayes

Anne Marie Caulfield, Director, Gambling Regulatory Authority of Ireland

Caulfield, second from left, with members of the Irish Government (Image: Twitter/Irish Department of Public Expenditure & Reform)

After many years of delay, debate and disagreement, the government of Ireland has finally embarked on a process to update gambling legislation that has not been substantially changed since the 1950s. This comprehensive project was included in the “Programme for Government” arrangement sanctioned by the island nation’s three main political parties in 2020 and is to include the creation of a regulator to oversee the entire domestic online and land-based gambling scene.

The new Gambling Regulatory Authority of Ireland watchdog is expected to begin life sometime next year as part of a larger commitment under the forthcoming Gambling Regulation Bill to improve the well-being and safety of the public. This fresh body is additionally set to be given powers to supervise all forms of gambling alongside their associated advertising, online and mobile-facing endeavors.

In advance of the new regulator’s launch, the government of Irish Prime Minister Micheál Martin revealed in September that experienced civil servant Anne Marie Caulfield has been selected to serve as the first chief executive for the coming authority. The University College Dublin graduate previously led the country’s Residential Tenancies Board for eight years, and more recently chaired its Capability Review Programme, which is a key action under the planned 2030 Civil Service Reform agenda.

The appointment of Caulfield followed an extensive international search conducted by the country’s Public Appointments Service with her experience moreover running to time on the boards for a number of public bodies including the Heritage Council, the Special EU Programmes Body and the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform. The career of the incoming figure additionally encompassed handling this latter organization’s structural funds, cohesion and north-south cooperation duties, where she oversaw the administration of some $840 million and helped to lead the North-South Ministerial Council.

Caulfield calls her appointment to lead the coming Gambling Regulatory Authority of Ireland “a great privilege,” and says she now intends to work towards implementing the “effective and efficient regulation” of a sector that is annually thought to be worth approximately $8.4 billion.

“The Gaming Regulatory Authority of Ireland must be built on a foundation of robust legislation, and I welcome the progress to date of the draft Gambling Regulation Bill,” she says. “I look forward to developing a close working relationship with all of the stakeholders in the sector, gambling regulators elsewhere in the European Union and with Department of Justice officials.”

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